New Jersey Department of Education

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New Jersey Student Learning Standards

Standard 9
21st Century Life and Careers

The New Jersey Student Learning Standards (NJSLS) are reviewed and revised every five years. The 2020 NJSLS in Career Readiness, Life Literacies and Key Skills (formerly 21st Century Life and Careers) were adopted by the State Board of Education on June 3, 2020. Districts are required to implement by September 2022. The 2020 New Jersey Student Learning Standards webpage provides links to the 2020 NJSLS and information regarding curriculum implementation dates.

2014 New Jersey Student Learning Standards – 21st Century Life and Careers

In today's global economy, students need to be lifelong learners who have the knowledge and skills to adapt to an evolving workplace and world. To address these demands, Standard 9, 21st Century Life and Careers, which includes the 12 Career Ready Practices, establishes clear guidelines for what students need to know and be able to do in order to be successful in their future careers and to achieve financial independence.

Mission:  21st century life and career skills enable students to make informed decisions that prepare them to engage as active citizens in a dynamic global society and to successfully meet the challenges and opportunities of the 21st century global workplace.

Vision:  To integrate 21st Century life and career skills across the K-12 curriculum and in Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs to foster a population that:

  • Continually self-reflects and seeks to improve the essential life and career practices that lead to success.
  • Uses effective communication and collaboration skills and resources to interact with a global society.
  • Is financially literate and financially responsible at home and in the broader community.
  • Is knowledgeable about careers and can plan, execute, and alter career goals in response to changing societal and economic conditions.
  • Seeks to attain skill and content mastery to achieve success in a chosen career path.

The Standards: Standard 9 is composed of the Career Ready Practices and Standard 9.1, 9.2, and 9.3 which are outlined below:

  • The 12 Career Ready Practices
    These practices outline the skills that all individuals need to have to truly be adaptable, reflective, and proactive in life and careers. These are researched practices that are essential to career readiness.
  • 9.1 Personal Financial Literacy
    This standard outlines the important fiscal knowledge, habits, and skills that must be mastered in order for students to make informed decisions about personal finance. Financial literacy is an integral component of a student's college and career readiness, enabling students to achieve fulfilling, financially-secure, and successful careers.
  • 9.2 Career Awareness, Exploration, and Preparation
    This standard outlines the importance of being knowledgeable about one's interests and talents, and being well informed about postsecondary and career options, career planning, and career requirements.
  • 9.3 Career and Technical Education
    This standard outlines what students should know and be able to do upon completion of a CTE Program of Study.

For students to be college and career ready they must have opportunities to understand career concepts and financial literacy. This includes helping students make informed decisions about their future personal, educational, work, and financial goals. By integrating Standard 9 into instruction, New Jersey students will acquire the necessary academic and life skills to not only achieve individual success but also to contribute to the success of our society.


American School Counselor Association, A. S. (2004). ASCA National Standards for Students (Competencies and Indicators). Alexandria, VA.

Career Readiness Partner Council. (2014). What it Means to be Career Ready?

Advance CTE: State Leaders Connecting Learning to Work. (2014, June) The Common Career Technical Core.

Folkers, D. R. (2011, October). Setting a New Standard with a Common Career Technical Core. Techniques.

Partnership for 21st Century Skills.